Spirit Airlines Mulls Adding Smaller Jets to All-Airbus Fleet

(Bloomberg) -- Spirit Airlines Inc. is considering adding smaller planes to its fleet of Airbus SE jets as the carrier looks for ways to expand its service.

The ultradiscounter expects to seek proposals from planemakers “shortly,” having completed an evaluation of the options, Chief Commercial Officer Matt Klein said in an interview. He declined to say when the airline might make an order.

Adding smaller planes, such as those made by Canada’s Bombardier Inc. or Brazil’s Embraer SA, would further Spirit’s goal of adding flights from midsize and smaller cities to popular tourist destinations. The airline already has plans to expand its fleet of Airbus A320-family planes to 161 by the end of 2021. Spirit had 112 of the single-aisle planes at the end of last year.

“We feel like there are some route opportunities that are not being properly served today,” Klein said Monday at the CAPA Americas Aviation Summit in Houston. Any aircraft choice would need to let the airline maintain the lowest cost structure in the industry, he said.

The evaluation could mean more planes from the Airbus A320 line, which comes in a range of sizes. Boeing Co., which makes the 737 family of jetliners, also is in the running. Spirit has said it wants to increase capacity by as much as 15 percent next year and in the low to mid-teens over the following several years.

Spirit’s planes now seat between 145 and 228 passengers. Bombardier’s CS100 can carry as many as 135 and the CS300, up to 160. Embraer’s E190 E2 can accommodate as many as 114 passengers, while the E195 E2 can seat a maximum of 146.

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